Invisible braces or invisible aligner systems are relatively newer options for straightening teeth. Unlike conventional braces, aligner systems use a series of custom-made removable aligners that can straighten your teeth without brackets and wires.
Each aligner moves the teeth incrementally and is worn about 2 weeks before changing to the next aligner in the series and is designed to move your teeth gradually and progressively until the final position is achieved. Aligners are to be worn for at least 20 hours a day to achieve the desired maximum effectiveness and advised to be removed only for eating and regular oral hygiene.
It is the fit of the aligners on your teeth that generates the desired forces to straighten them. When you initially start wearing your aligner, you may notice that your aligner does not fit quite right. It may also feel a bit tight or hard to get in and out. This is because your aligners have been designed to fit the future alignment that your teeth need to have at the end of 2 weeks.
It is the ‘misfit’ of your aligner that causes the teeth to move. As evidence of the movement, you will notice that during the 2 weeks of wearing an aligner, the fit does gradually become more relaxed. The amount of tooth movement generated by an individual aligner is only about 0.25mm. However, after a whole series of aligners have been worn, the total amount of tooth movement accomplished can be quite substantial so as to achieve your desired smile.
Invisible braces may be not be the ideal choice for all types of orthodontic situations and are best suited for addressing malocclusions that are mild to moderate in complexity. However, in order to overcome this limitation, systems such as Invisalign employ the use of ‘attachments’ or ‘buttons’ in severe malocclusions wherein you get the benefit of wearing removable aligners but not so much an ‘’invisible’’ one.